Tuesday 16 May, 2017

2 Corinthians 8:1-15

8 Brothers and sisters, we want you to know about the grace that God has given to the churches in Macedonia. 2 They have suffered a great deal. But in their suffering, their joy was more than full. Even though they were very poor, they gave very freely. 3 I tell you that they gave as much as they could. In fact, they gave even more than they could. Completely on their own, 4 they begged us for the chance to share in serving the Lord’s people in that way. 5 They did more than we expected. First they gave themselves to the Lord. Then they gave themselves to us because that was what God wanted. 6 Titus had already started collecting money from you. So we asked him to help you finish making your kind gift. 7 You do well in everything else. You do well in faith and in speaking. You do well in knowledge and in complete commitment. And you do well in the love we have helped to start in you. So make sure that you also do well in the grace of giving to others. 8 I am not commanding you to do it. But I want to test you. I want to find out if you really love God. I want to compare your love with that of others. 9 You know the grace shown by our Lord Jesus Christ. Even though he was rich, he became poor to help you. Because he became poor, you can become rich. 10 Here is my opinion about what is best for you in that matter. Last year you were the first to give. You were also the first to want to give. 11 So finish the work. Then your desire to do it will be matched by your finishing it. Give on the basis of what you have. 12 Do you really want to give? Then the gift is measured by what someone has. It is not measured by what they don’t have. 13 We don’t want others to have it easy at your expense. We want things to be equal. 14 Right now you have plenty in order to take care of what they need. Then they will have plenty to take care of what you need. The goal is to even things out. 15 It is written, “The one who gathered a lot didn’t have too much. And the one who gathered a little had enough.” (Exodus 16:18)

Paul now turns his attention to the gift that the Corinthians were to be saving towards in 1 Cor 16:1-4 – a gift for fellow believers doing it tough in Jerusalem. He’s encouraging them to give “according to your means” (NRSV) “give on the basis of what you have” (NIRV). This is to be a heart felt offering, something they want to do – to give from their present abundance.

This does not seem to be a “faith” offering – over and above what they have the means to give – but one where the giver can afford it. We might call it ‘discretionary’ money today – money that’s available to us that we can use to bless other believers in times when they don’t have enough. In Corinthians, this is a specific offering in time and place but the principle I see here is God’s economy being one of balance; there will always be people in need and people with abundance. I need to keep my heart & eyes open, be ready to give where I see other believers having a need. This might be believers that are far from me and unknown or someone in our church or my circle of friends. My heart needs to ready so that my hand can give.

Holy Spirit keep us soft in regards to the money you provide for us – keep our hearts an open channel for you to use. I love how you know that money can be a challenge for us & here you give me guidance and encouragement. Help me to always keep Your perspective on what you have provided for me. Amen

Written by Suzie Hodgson

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